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Data Dashboard, CARES Act, Expanded TestNebraska Sites
LINCOLN – During the past seven days, the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state increased by 16 to 186, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data dashboard.
The state case total, as of 5:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time today, is 15,193, marking an increase of 1,539 from last Friday. Local health departments are reporting deaths and cases in their jurisdictions. In the event of a discrepancy between DHHS dashboard data and deaths or cases reported by local public health officials, data reported by the local health department should be considered the most up to date.
Additions to DHHS Data Dashboard
The DHHS COVID-19 data dashboard has undergone several improvements since appearing on the DHHS public Web site on March 27. And that work is continuing.
This Monday, additional “tabs" of information were added. The tabs included deaths, recoveries and demographic information like age and gender for positive cases and hospitalized cases. The improvement joins past additions to the data dashboard that describe hospital capacity, and other improvements.
At Governor Pete Ricketts' daily coronavirus briefing May 29, Gov. Ricketts was joined by DHHS CEO Dannette R. Smith, who said DHHS is working to compile data from four sources that would track race and ethnicity as they relate to COVID-19. These improved data breakdowns are expected on the dashboard at the end of the month.
The CARES Act
While measures continue in Nebraska to manage the spread of COVID-19, passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27 will support child care and out-of-school learning initiatives in Nebraska. Specifically, $20 million has been allocated to the state.
Stephanie L. Beasley, director of the DHHS Division of Children and Family Services spoke June 1 at Gov. Pete Ricketts' regular COVID-19 briefing to break out how the money will be used.
The full news release on the CARES Act can be read here, and the high points follow:
1. Child Care Relief Fund
The Child Care Relief Fund was established to offer grants of $1,000 to meet the needs of child care providers. The relief fund application was released to providers on April 8, 2020.
2. Child Care Provider Stabilization Grant Funds
DHHS will award Child Care Stabilization grants to help make up lost income for providers caring for fewer children in accordance with COVID-19 Directed Health Measures (DHMs). Providers will need to meet requirements, submit an application and be in good standing with DHHS.
3. Incentive-to-Reopen Child Care Programs Grant
DHHS will also be award Incentive to Reopen Child Care Program Grants. Priority for these grants will be given to providers who are in good standing with DHHS and meet certain criteria. Some family child care homes are eligible for a one-time grant of $2,000 and some child care centers eligible for a one-time grant of $3,000. Providers aren't eligible for both the stabilization grant and this grant.
4. Nebraska Child Care Referral Network Website
A Child Care Referral Network website was created to help families find safe, high quality, licensed child care. The searchable database connects working parents with providers that have open child care spots. DHHS is planning to improve data-collection and the technology platform to sustain the network and build it into the existing Nebraska child care resource and referral system.
5. Afterschool and Summer Learning for School Age Children
DHHS will use CARES Act funding for future collaboration between DHHS and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation's Beyond School Bells initiative, which supports expanded learning opportunities. Discussions about potential initiatives are underway.
Still a key part of the state's game plan to monitor and mitigate COVID-19, TestNebraska expanded this week into western regions of Nebraska. In the coming week, more testing stations will be set up in the state:
Omaha 6/8-6/13 8am-6pm CHI Health Center, 455 N 10th St.
Lincoln 6/8-6/9 8am-6pm 4100 N. 84th St.
South Omaha 6/6 8am-6pm 4920 S 30th St.
Norfolk 6/6-6/7 8am-12pm 1010 S 8th St.
St. Paul 6/6-6/7 8am-12pm Howard County Fairgrounds, 1381 Hwy 281
Sidney 6/7 8am-12pm 2103 Illinois St.
Oshkosh 6/6 10am-2pm 115 W 1st St.
Grand Island 6/8-6/9 8am-12pm Fonner Park Fieldhouse, 700 E Stolley Park Rd.
Winnebago 6/9 10am-2pm Public School Bus Barn, 107 w Osborn
Crete 6/10-6/11 8am-12pm Public Works Building, 320 W 9th St.
McCook 6/10 8am-12pm Red Willow Fairgrounds, W 5th
Imperial 6/11 8am-12pm 921 Broadway St.
Ogallala 6/12 8am-12pm 1501 W 5th St.
Dakota City 6/12-6/13 8am-12pm Dakota City Fire Hall, 208 S 21st St.
Springfield 6/12-6/13 8am-12 pm Sarpy County Fairgrounds, 100 Main St.
Lexington 6/13-6/14 8am-12pm 801 W Vine St.
North Platte 6/13-6/14 8am-12pm North Platte Bus Facility, 1200 Industrial Ave.
West Point 6/14 8am-12pm Location TBD
The State has announced that it will begin phasing in test scheduling for all Nebraska residents, including those who previously completed the online assessment, but did not qualify to complete the test.
“We want to ensure every Nebraskan knows that if they are concerned they may have been exposed, they can have the opportunity to schedule a test," said Director of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Gary Anthone. “The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is through aggressive testing and contact tracing and we continue to expand our capabilities across the state."
Testing candidates who may have previously tested negative, but are now presenting new symptoms that could result in a positive test are encouraged to complete an updated assessment at TestNebraska.com or TestNebraska/es for Spanish.
To ensure test scheduling occurs in an orderly manner as testing is phased in for all, people aged 15 to 35 in Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties can now schedule a test. This is in addition to the following priority categories already open for scheduling a test: first responders, health care providers, meatpacking workers, military employees, anyone working in a long-term care facility or nursing home, anyone 65 years old and over, and anyone who has been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, there is no longer limiting criteria for any individuals living in the state's remaining 93 counties to schedule a test.
Individuals must still go to the website TestNebraska.com or TestNebraska/es for Spanish and complete an assessment to schedule an appointment for testing.
Here's where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC's website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 .
DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645 or toll-free at (833) 998-2275; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CDT, 7 days a week. DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC's website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.